24-Hour Room Service: The Grace Jo'burg, South Africa
Saturday 31 December 2005
However, although luxurious, this 73-room boutique hotel has a relaxed atmosphere, largely due to the friendliness of the staff, and is as appealing to business travellers as to honeymooning couples. It is the third in a family-owned portfolio of stylish hotels. Factors that have led regulars to dub it "Amazing Grace" include a fifth-floor spa that offers stress-busting packages to executives and complimentary mini-massages to all guests, and the dining room that serves a creative menu ranging from crocodile roulade to chilli-dusted line fish, along with an expansive selection of wines. For those keen on basking under blue African skies, the roof terrace, with its lap pool and afternoon-tea tables set among the flower bushes, offers wide-reaching views towards the centre of the city.
The Grace, 54 Bath Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg, South Africa (00 27 11 280 7200; www.thegrace.co.za). The leafy northern suburb of Rosebank is among the safest in the city. With its wide, tree-lined avenues, air-conditioned shopping malls, restaurants and coffee shops, it attracts crowds that are as fashionable as they are affluent. Even so, staff insisted that an escort accompany us when we decided to walk to a bar several blocks away.
Time from international airport: a taxi for the 40-minute drive costs in the region of 250 rand (R250/£22); the hotel offers private transfers which cost R290 (£26) for one person, R400 (£36) for two
Rooms are elegant, with tall windows and piles of old books, and all the mod cons you would expect in a five-star hotel. But the best rooms are those at the top: the three penthouse suites on the 10th floor have large lounge areas as well as French doors opening on to private terraces offering great views over the city.
Freebies: The "Grace Collection" features generously sized bath products scented with sandalwood, jasmine and patchouli.
THE BOTTOM LINE Double rooms, including a full English breakfast, start at R2,700 (£242), rising to R4,000 (£358) for a penthouse.
I'm not paying that: Try the City Lodge in Sandton (00 27 11 444 5300; www.citylodge.co.za), about 2km from Nelson Mandela Square, a reliable good-value chain hotel complete with swimming pool. Doubles from R700 (£63); breakfast costs an extra R55 (£5) per person.
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